Who is the man that is referred to in the book of Ether as the ‘brother’ of Jared? As far as I can find, there is no other instance where a righteous leader was known in the scriptures only as the brother of someone.
We are first introduced to Jared and his extended family in the first chapter of Ether. We discover that the brother of Jared was a ‘large and mighty man, and a man highly favored of the Lord.’ But we also discover that he was not the one to see the need for revelation. From verse 34, in chapter one, we find that Jared repeatedly petitioned his brother to approach the Lord with a righteous request. First, it was that Jared and his brother, then his family, finally his friends not be confounded. In each case the brother of Jared cried unto the Lord and received an answer.
Then, Jared again, asked his brother to inquire of the Lord regarding where they should go. I would suggest that Jared was not a spiritual weakling as he had discerned that the Lord could allow them to travel to a land which is ‘choice above all the earth.’ Again, the Lord responded with directions on where the ‘Jaredites’ should go.
Right in the middle of the dialog, Moroni stops and addresses the Gentiles who will someday populate is land that is choice above all other lands as found in chapter 2, verses 11 and 12:
And this cometh unto you, O ye Gentiles, that ye may know the decrees of God—that ye may repent, and not continue in your iniquities until the fulness come, that ye may not bring down the fulness of the wrath of God upon you as the inhabitants of the land have hitherto done.
Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ, who hath been manifested by the things which we have written.
Here we find another warning to the Gentiles that they will face the wrath of God if they do not serve God. But I digress…
Soon, the brother of Jared, even though he was characterized as a righteous man, exhibited a lack of judgment. This man was a one who had discussions on a regular basis with the Lord; even to the point where later, the Lord would refer to him one of great faith – “never has man come before me with such exceeding faith as thou hast…” Yet, for the space of four years, this man failed to call upon the Lord.
And it came to pass at the end of four years that the Lord came again unto the brother of Jared, and stood in a cloud and talked with him. And for the space of three hours did the Lord talk with the brother of Jared, and chastened him because he remembered not to call upon the name of the Lord.
And the brother of Jared repented of the evil which he had done, and did call upon the name of the Lord for his brethren who were with him. And the Lord said unto him: I will forgive thee and thy brethren of their sins; but thou shalt not sin any more, for ye shall remember that my Spirit will not always strive with man; wherefore, if ye will sin until ye are fully ripe ye shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord.
Here the Lord forgives the whole clan of their sins and cautions them not to sin any more. As I pondered this dialog, the question arose in my mind as to the circumstances presented here. Was this the remission of sins applied to the group? Perhaps.
I also find it interesting here that until we ‘sin until [we] are fully ripe, we are not completely cut off from the presence of the Lord. Until we have lost all desire to seek God, there is still a chance for us to seek His face. I draw some comfort from this because of my wanderings. I do strongly desire to repent and come unto Him. I have come to marvel at the love and patience of God, and His willingness to chasten us – helping us to make the change toward the light.
Why was it not until Joseph Smith, through revelation, identified the brother of Jared as Mahonri Moriancumer (George Reynolds, May 1 1882, Juvenile Instructor) that we came to know the name of this righteous man? As I pondered this dilemma, I asked the question: What is it what we can learn about a man who didn’t even ‘allow’ his name to be used in connection with the revelations and miracles?
I believe we are to use this righteous example to gain a perspective on how humility can work to bring us great faith and exceeding great revelation and would suggest that the lack of the use of his own name in this record is an indication of his humility. Isn’t it an act of humility to not take credit for events in this written record such as those display through the brother of Jared? Humility was also exhibited by the people of King Benjamin at the time of their baptism of fire. Alma expressed his desire to be a “penitent and humble seeker of happiness.”
We are to be humble, teachable and dismiss pride, envy and all such selfish ventures. This is what brought the brother of Jared to the point where he received the marvelous vision of the entire history of the earth; something repeated to Lehi, Nephi, and Enoch. Something available to each of us is we meet the same criteria.
As the brother of Jared was preparing the barges, he presented the Lord with 16 stones. These stones were to provide light during the long voyage to the land choice above all other lands. In the process of lighting the stones, the Lord’s finger became visible to the brother of Jared and he fell, being struck with fear. Here is the Lord responding to the situation:
And the Lord said unto him: Because of thy faith thou hast seen that I shall take upon me flesh and blood; and never has man come before me with such exceeding faith as thou hast; for were it not so ye could not have seen my finger… (Ether 3:9)
Here we come to understand that it was the faith of the brother of Jared that allowed him to see the finger of God. Moroni then provides some commentary on the story:
And because of the knowledge of this man he could not be kept from beholding within the veil; and he saw the finger of Jesus, which, when he saw, he fell with fear; for he knew that it was the finger of the Lord; and he had faith no longer, for he knew, nothing doubting.
Wherefore, having this perfect knowledge of God, he could not be kept from within the veil; therefore he saw Jesus; and he did minister unto him. (Ether 3:19)
In the very instant of seeing the finger of the Lord, I believe we are being told in this snippit from Moroni that the brother of Jared’s faith turned to knowledge. Because of this knowledge, the brother of Jared was given to see much more:
For behold, the language which ye shall write I have confounded; wherefore I will cause in my own due time that these stones shall magnify to the eyes of men these things which ye shall write.
And when the Lord had said these words, he showed unto the brother of Jared all the inhabitants of the earth which had been, and also all that would be; and he withheld them not from his sight, even unto the ends of the earth.
For he had said unto him in times before, that if he would believe in him that he could show unto him all things—it should be shown unto him; therefore the Lord could not withhold anything from him, for he knew that the Lord could show him all things. (Ether 3:24-26)
This entire history of the earth, from beginning to end, and all the inhabitants thereof, was contained in the vision presented to the brother of Jared. He was then told to write the vision down but was forbidden from sharing it with his people. The information was made available to King Mosiah who translated the plates. subsequently, this information was lost, however, and is found in the sealed portion of the plates from which the Book of Mormon was derived. Moroni describes the situation in Ether, chapter 4, verses 4 and 5.
Behold, I have written upon these plates the very things which the brother of Jared saw; and there never were greater things made manifest than those which were made manifest unto the brother of Jared.
Wherefore the Lord hath commanded me to write them; and I have written them. And he commanded me that I should seal them up; and he also hath commanded that I should seal up the interpretation thereof; wherefore I have sealed up the interpreters, according to the commandment of the Lord.
We are told here that ‘there were never greater things made manifest’ than what was seen by the brother of Jared. Moroni was commanded to seal them up for a later time (verses 6 and 7).
For the Lord said unto me: They shall not go forth unto the Gentiles until the day that they shall repent of their iniquity, and become clean before the Lord.
And in that day that they shall exercise faith in me, saith the Lord, even as the brother of Jared did, that they may become sanctified in me, then will I manifest unto them the things which the brother of Jared saw, even to the unfolding unto them all my revelations, saith Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of the heavens and of the earth, and all things that in them are.
Moroni speaks of us in these verses. What must be done to receive the sealed portion of the plates? We must repent and become clean before the Lord. We must exercise the same faith that the brother of Jared demonstrated. And here, also we learn that we must become ‘sanctified’ in Christ.
How important is it for all of us to strive to be acceptable for these ‘greater things.’ Would this information not be of high value? Here again we are presented with the need to be sanctified. How important is it that we clearly understand what it means to be sanctified and what we must do to achieve this condition?
Not much is pronounced from the pulpit these days about the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon. It has not apparently passed muster in these days of correlation. What is it that we should be striving for? Are we simply to be good, to be helpful, and be honest? Or are we commanded to apply the gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives, to be filled with the Holy Ghost and to be sanctified?
I believe the promise we find here is that the presence of a community of the sanctified will be necessary to draw upon the promise of the Lord to reveal the contents of the sealed portion, to behold those things given to the brother of Jared in vision.
What does it take for us to demonstrate the same profound faith as the brother of Jared portrayed? What must we do to repent and become clean before the Lord? I believe the answers to these questions are found among the pages on the Book of Mormon that contain a fulness of the gospel. It is contingent upon a broken heart and a contrite spirit. It is made available to those who seek a remission of their sins. It is granted unto those who have their garments washed in the blood of Christ.
But, what more? Does this virtual gathering represent a glimmer of hope that a group of the sanctified sufficient to receive the revelations of God hidden from the rest of the world may be possible? One can only hope…
In summary, the brother of Jared is held in the scriptures as a model of faith and humility. The recorded vision he was afforded will be made available to us when we can become sanctified.
What think ye?